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In This Issue:

Coordinator's Column - Teaching Hunter Ethics

steve deer

"Ethics are Caught -- Not Taught!"

Staff and hunter education instructors met in Dallas and Houston this past month. We updated attendees on 2018 highlights and 2019 strategies. One future strategy is to reinvigorate the notion of "Teaching Ethics", especially in today's world (e.g. texting, social media, lack of quality face-to-face time, hyper-partisan politics, waning attention spans, online-only courses, etc.).  # 17291

Historically, we've taught ethics based on decades-old research by Dr. Robert Jackson & Dr. Bob Norton, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, and Homer Moe, Wisconsin Hunter Ed Coordinator.

The four specific techniques include:

  • Open Meeting/Discussion
  • Brainstorming, Consensus & Feedback
  • 'Trigger' Films/Videos
  • 'Dilemma' Exercises

Going forward, we have our work cut out for us since a majority of hunter education students are certified via online-only teaching formats (17 and older) and since our culture has changed drastically since the 1970s - 80s (e.g. Internet and social media platforms). We must come up with added online techniques that reinforce the fact that most hunters, especially those who took hunter education, exhibit safe, responsible and knowledgeable actions giving them and hunting a positive public image.  This means that hunters act legally ("written law") and ethically ("unwritten law"). We must better define "hunter ethics" and what such standards look like since "ethical behaviors" mean so many different things to so many people.  We must get the word out continually via the growing media and in the right ways -- lest "poor" behaviors go viral or lest sporting arms, hunting and target sports are grossly misrepresented by those same media (e.g. Cecil the lion; firearms as "weapons" or so-called "assault rifles", "gun safety" instead of gun control, etc.).  # 19704

One example is the fact that most people agree that being safe and legal are ethical behaviors, but that some "fair chase" standards such as hunting over feeders/behind 'high' fences are not as widely held as ethical by the same majority.

Personally, I always fall back and rely on quotes and quips from Aldo Leopold when contemplating conservation, wildlife management and especially land/hunter ethics...

Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator


"A peculiar virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than by a mob of onlookers. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this fact."

- Aldo Leopold - "Wildlife in American Culture" from A Sand County Almanac.

Photo: Aldo Leopold's "shack"

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Dallas & Houston Safari Clubs Host HE Instructors


Dallas Safari Club

Michael Sabbeth, Denver, noted author and web site host -- The Honorable Hunter -- joined instructors in Dallas to speak on "Making the Case for Hunters & Hunting" as well as musings from his upcoming student and instructor curricula on the subject matter -- a booklet that we will be disseminating to instructors by way of "Ethics, Game Laws & Responsibilities" workshops in late 2019 and 2020. His lawyer-like strategies, humor and "kibitzing" were, once again, excellent fodder to work into our communications skills with hunters, non-hunters and even anti-hunters. After his presentation, instructors were given free passes to the convention to network with guides, outfitters and other hunting & outdoor exhibitors.  Here, Michael receives a copy of the hardback Observing & Evaluating Whitetails from Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator -- a memento from Texas Hunter Education Program and partner/photographer - David Richards.

Kneeling (L to R): Jason Brogdon - Tom Bean; Steve Russell - Flint; Lindsay Hodgdon - Rockwall, THEIA President;  Jarod Dunham - Canton; Mike Malone - Garland; Standing (L to R): Terry Rodgers - Buda; Monica Bickerstaff - N TX Hunter Ed Specialist (meeting host); Debbie Ferrell - Windom; Doug Lambert - Burleson; Steve Hall, Hunter Education Coordinator; Larry Watson - Linden;  Charles Edenfield - Saginaw; Charles Snowden, Jr. - Linden; Larry Holland - Garland; Sabina Harrington - Arlington; Jason Brady - Granite Shoals; Malcolm Holland - Marble Falls; Glenn Hayes - Fredericksburg; Jeff  Durham - Canton; Mark Betts -  Montabla; Justin Leiichliter - Decatur; William Flynt - Fort Worth; Michael Bira - Ovilla; William Knight - Fort Worth; Joe Cawthon III - Garland.  Not pictured: Heidi Rao, S TX HE Specialist and Randy Spradlin, W TX HE Specialist (photographer).


Houston Safari Club Convention 

Kneeling (L to R): Duke and Saralyn Walton - Porter; Ivan Benevidas, Jr. - Pasadena. Standing (L to R): Thomas Booth - Humble; John Polasek - College Station; Betty & Rick Monger - Levelland; Joe Drobniak - Friendswood; Michael Thomas - Humble; Kyle Jarnigan - Cypress; Joe Schmidt - Rosharon; Michael Martinez - Fresno; Clinton Narcisse, Jr. - Humble; Kitty & James Haynes - Richmond; Jose Flores - Houston; Steve Hall - Hunter Education Coordinator - Austin; Ivan Benevidas - Pasadena; Rob Neilson - Ashby Bowhunting Foundation - Houston; Heidi Rao - SE TX Hunter Ed Specialist (meeting host).


SPECIAL THANKS goes to Executive Director, Outdoor Tomorrow Foundation, Scot McClure, Corey Mason, Executive Director, Dallas Safari Club, and Joe Betar, Executive Director, Houston Safari Club! These gentleman donated guest passes to the conventions and meeting rooms to TPWD.  We'd like to thank them for supporting the Texas Hunter Education Program!  # 19990

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QDMA Hosts Mentor Hunt at Clear Fork Ranch


The Quality Deer Management Association hosted a Mentor Hunt on the Clear Fork Ranch near Albany, Dec 6th-9th...and, guess what, it snowed! Texas participants were selected based on applications, and they experienced the full breadth of an introductory Deer Hunting 101 and Mentored Hunt experience.  Host of the hunt, Hank Forester, QDMA Hunting Heritage Programs Manager (right in group photo), Brian Murphy, QDMA Executive Director, and J.B. Wynn, along with QDMA Staff as well as Texas Youth Hunting Program's N TX Field Operations Coordinator, Bob Barnette, were all on hand to run the hunt and teach subjects such as Hunting Skills Trail, Processing Game and Ethics & Responsibilities. A Big Texas THANKS to QDMA for helping us extend our reach to adults learning how to hunt for the first time! 

Above:  New hunter, Mike Vollmert (L), looks over the nice buck he just harvested with guide/mentor, Brandon Neuberger; Below (L to R): J.B. Wynn, Mitch Strobl, Thomas Nueberger, Floyd Daughters, Ryan Walser, Seth Walker, Thomas Neuberger, Mike Vollmert, Steve Hall, Michael Harris, Mark Fox, Adam Werner, Zach Lambert, Mickey Phillips, Chad Baldwin, Bob Barnette, Kristian Santibanez, Ryan Vaughan, Hank Forester. PHOTO CREDITS: Luke Laha # 1852  


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We need YOU!

Among TPWD Hunter Education Staff's highest priorities in 2019 is to recruit more Area Chiefs (ACs) in the Texas Hunter Education Program, elevating the role of the instructor to include:

  1. Teaching INSTRUCTOR Courses along with STUDENT courses
  2. Teaching and promoting HUNTING 101s (advanced HE) and OUTREACH
  3. Assisting HE Regional Staff and HE Instructors in his/her count(ies)

New 2019 Qualifications to become Area Chief have been streamlined and include completion of the following:

  1. Area Chief Application (Emailed from Austin or HE Regional Specialist)
  2. Recommendation by a regional Hunter Education Specialist and a game warden in his/her count(ies) of responsibility (on AC application form)
  3. Three (3) years as a Hunter Education Instructor
  4. Certification of a minimum of 50 students or 100 incentive points
  5. Willingness to take on added duties in the program and assist HE Staff

To REMAIN ACTIVE as an Area Chief each year, you must:

  1. Teach one (min.) instructor course a year (min. of 3 new instructors).
  2. Attend the annual instructor conference/AC Meeting or a regional meeting*
  3. (* You may substitute regional Hunting 101/event with HE Staff approval.)

For copy of AC Application or information, please email

We need your assistance to update the current AC LISTING effective January 2019. The listing is at the Instructor Resources Page/Hunter Education web site.  ALL AREA CHIEFS previously listed will be grandfathered in; however, by the end of 2019, to REMAIN ACTIVE, the criteria above (instructor course/annual meeting) must be met.

PHOTO: Brent Beamesderfer, Dayton (R), coordinated a Quality Deer Management Association Deer Hunting 101 workshop in Dayton, TX in 2018 as part of his Area Chief duties -- here pictured with his son and the caterers/donors for the workshop.  # 8058

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PRIZES for Reading Target Talk -- C'mon Instructors!

Waterfowl Hunters

Win Prizes NOW!

HE Instructor certification numbers are hidden throughout Target Talk! However, since December's issue and with eight (8) hidden numbers per monthly issue, not one instructor has claimed his/her prize, yet.  Many other instructors have called in liking the idea, but those with numbers in the newsletters must not be noticing their numbers. We'll keep trying by upping the ante to ten (10) numbers per issue. Email/call (512-389-8142) to claim your prize TODAY! 

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Hunter Education Instructor Contributions


Outdoor Adventure Camps

"Thank you for you putting the (Dallas Instructor Meeting --see above) class together last Saturday.  I really enjoyed Michael Sabbath’s portion of the class and learning more about what is happening with the hunter education program.

Last summer, I put together two, 2-day camps which I named, “Outdoor Adventure Camps”.  I capped the camps at 20 each and both camps filled.  I had guest instructors from the National Wild Turkey Federation, a local game warden, Team Realtree’s "Dr. Duck" and "The Fowl Hunter", and a few others.  Campers age 9 - 16 had the opportunity to get their Hunter Education certification.  Most of the camp was hands-on with a lot of it outdoors.  These camps were a big hit, and I had many requests for more camps.  I am working on my camp dates for 2019 and was hoping to could get some help.

I had been meaning to reach out for a while but the class on Saturday really made me think about all the additional resources that may be available through TPWD.  I truly have a passion for getting more kids involved in the outdoors and educating them on the great opportunities available just outside their windows.  Any additional help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  # 24445

I have attached a few pictures from last year's camps 1 and 2. (See below.)

Thanks again!"

Jeff Durham, Canton -

(Jeff:  Please work with Monica Bickerstaff at or Austin to secure additional resources/help in your area, Jeff --WAY TO GO!)

Camp 1camp 2

duke 2

Who was your Hunter Education Instructor?

Kirk Dorsey saw Area Chief, Duke Walton, Porter, at a recent event and shouted, "Duke!"  Kirk, only a teenager then, was in Duke's first hunter education course over 30 years ago. Duke has a knack for presenting memorable, hands-on courses, and many students' first deer harvests. Keep the photos coming! Congrats, once again, Duke, for sharing and for your outreach efforts!

Hunter/Bowhunter Education Instructor Course Held

Monica Bickerstaff and Heidi Rao, N/SE TX Hunter Education Specialists (L), held a combination hunter and bowhunter education instructor course at Mission Tejas State Park February 1st and certified 20 new instructors, primarily in East Texas.

Thanks to Mission Tejas State Park (SP) staff including host and Manager, Gary Coker, Jared Schamburger, and Krik Le Blan, and Daingerfield and Fairfield SP Police officers, Tim King and Kyle Ware!  Thanks, too, to TPWD Game Warden, Eddie Lehr - Crockett and TPWD biologists, Bill Adams and Bob Baker, who are starting hunting program/Hunting 101s and youth hunts on the WMA.  Congrats to all who attended and will bolster instruction and hunter education in the Pineywoods!

Inst course

Albert Ross

Ross's Firearm Collection being Auctioned!

The family of Albert Ross - Arlington, former Area Chief and longtime Instructor (1971), who passed in June 2018, is auctioning off Albert's long gun and pistol collection, many that he also used in student and instructor training courses. The site for the auction is Arlington Firearms and Ammo at: Deadline is February 12th, so not much time!

Those that knew Albert, know that he was one of the most knowledgeable people in the United States when it came to firearms and hunter education but one of his greatest joys was to share that information with the world. He was extremely active in the Gun Collectors Associations (nationally), and in the Dallas Arms Collectors Association, a longtime supporter and partner of the Texas Hunter Education Program.  Albert is greatly missed, but his legacy lives on through those of us whose lives he touched. Memories also will survive through his extensive firearms collections, his involvement in hunter education and especially through his loving family & friends.  RIP Albert!

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Study Demonstrates Success of Conservation Model


A University of Texas Study supports the notion that major components of the Wildlife Conservation Model in North America work internationally for species of concern, when the funds generated from the hunters (really) go towards the species for anti-poaching, habitat restoration and related efforts.  It also showed the key role the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service plays in ensuring that access and imports for American hunters play an integral role in such efforts. "A graph depicting the markhor population growth in the Chitral Gal region of Pakistan is (shown here). Of note, following the implementation of a community based hunting conservation program in Chitral Gal in 1998 the markhor population has grown by nearly 12% a year."  # 22722

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Game Wardens Honored with National Awards

GW 1

The Shikar-Safari Club International “Texas Wildlife Officer of the Year” for 2018 is Game Warden, David Pellizzari. David began his TPWD career in 2009. Upon his graduation from the Game Warden Academy, he was stationed in Upshur County. After three years there, he transferred to Palo Pinto County and most recently has transferred to Wise County. He is recognized by his supervisor as consistently going above and beyond the call of duty when performing his job as a Texas Game Warden. Herb and Eric (not in photo) Stumberg (center) presented on behalf of Shikar Safari, along with Chairman Ralph Duggins and Vice-Chairman S. Reed Morian (L) and Colonel Grahame Jones and Executive Director, Carter Smith (R).

Each year, the Shikar-Safari Club International recognizes Game Wardens from North America as “Wildlife Officers of the Year.”  This marks the 39th year this award has been presented to a deserving Texas Game Warden.

GW 2

TPWD Commission Chairman, Ralph Duggins (L), Executive Director Carter Smith and Colonel Grahame Jones (R) present Captain Game Warden Eric Collins, Lufkin District, with the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) “Texas Wildlife Officer of the Year” for 2018. Collins began his career with TPWD in 2003, a graduate of the 49th TX Game Warden Academy.  He was stationed in Delta County and served there until 2009, then was transferred to Cherokee County. In October 2018, Eric was promoted to Captain in Lufkin.

Each year, SEAFWA recognizes a Game Warden from each of the member states as “Officer of the Year.”  This marks the 49th year this award has been presented to a deserving Texas Game Warden.  I guess "49" is Collin's number?

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Hunter Education Staff Contact Information

HE Staff

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L to R:  Heidi SE, Randy W, Morgan C, Brock S, Steve HQ, and Monica N.


SE TX - Heidi Rao, Houston; 713-829-1377c

W TX - Randy Spradlin, Abilene; 512-923-3509 c

C TX - Morgan Harbison, College Station

S TX - Brock Minton, Corpus Christi; 361-825-3249 w; 361-944-3617 c # 23069

N TX - Monica Bickerstaff, Grand Prairie; 469-601-8349 c

TPWD HQ ADMIN (ACP) - 1340 Airport Commerce Dr., Bldg. 6-B, Austin, TX 78741

HE Coord. - Steve Hall,; 512-389-8140; 550-7330c

HE Asst. - Eddie Kleppinger; 512-389-8142




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TPWD & Texas Hunter Education Partner Resources

Hunter Education Overview | Instructor Resources | Student Resources

Operation Game Thief | Texas Game Warden Association

Texas Youth Hunting Program | Texas 4-H Shooting Sports

Other Hunter Ed Resources

International Hunter Education Association | NRA PROGRAMS & Services

NSSF Hunting & Ranges | Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association

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wildlife & sport fish restoration